Moses Beaver Inquest Verdict Delivered Today

The 5-person jury in the Inquest into the Death of Moses Beaver delivered their verdict today. The jury found that the manner of Moses’ death was undetermined, in accordance with the submissions of Moses’ family. The jury also issued 63 recommendations directed at the governments of Ontario and Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General, the Ontario Ministry of Health, Indigenous Services Canada, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Nishnawbe Aski Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority, ORNGE, the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, and the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario. The jury’s verdict can be found here.

The inquest hearing ran from April 17 to May 12, 2023, in Thunder Bay. At the hearing, the jury heard evidence of how the nursing station in Nibinamik First Nation, like other nursing stations in remote First Nation communities, is under-resourced for acute psychiatric emergencies. The jury also heard how the mental health and medical transportation systems serving remote First Nations fail to meet the needs of those communities. Evidence was presented during the inquest relating to how the chronic underfunding of Nishnawbe Aski Police Service often leaves remote communities without a police officer. Additional evidence was provided on the chronic overcrowding and understaffing at the 100-year-old Thunder Bay District Jail, and how this increases violence in the jail and prevents inmates from receiving the mental health services and cultural programming they need. The jury heard how all of these systems, operating as designed, failed Moses Beaver, his family, and his community.

Counsel Asha James, Meaghan Daniel, and Christopher Rapson of Falconers LLP were honoured to represent Nishnawbe Aski Nation in this proceeding. On behalf of NAN, Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum testified about the ongoing 30-year suicide pandemic in NAN communities and NAN’s unwavering advocacy efforts to address the crisis through previous inquests, Chiefs’ resolutions, and engagement with the government. Our sincere hope is that the jury’s recommendations will lead to change.

The Inquest into the Death of Moses Beaver was formally closed with a smudge offered to everyone in the courtroom, a prayer from Elder Maggie, and the jury addressing the Beaver family directly.

Related Documents:
Verdict – Inquest into the Death of Moses Beaver – May 11, 2023

Previous Postings: – April 17, 2023

Media Coverage: Staff, (March 14, 2023) – “Around the North: Inquest into Indigenous artist’s death set”

DrydenNow Staff, DrydenNow (March 14, 2023) – “Inquest into the death of Moses Beaver” 

Peter Edwards & Tanya Talaga, Toronto Star (February 17, 2017) – “Full inquiry, not inquest, needed into artist’s death, First Nations leaders say”


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